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Get your home in order with the help of area professionals

by Darcie Dearth


It's finally time to switch off the furnace, draw the drapes and crack open the windows to let in the first warm breeze of spring. Unfortunately, drawing those drapes might reveal dusty corners, streaked windows or scuffed baseboards, creating a long list of household chores that tend to pile up over winter. It can be difficult to find time for essential spring cleaning alongside the usual workload.

Fortunately, you don't have to tackle it all yourself. There are dozens of experienced professionals throughout the Triangle who not only specialize in cleaning, organizing and redecorating your living space, but who also thrive on organizing a cluttered closet or bringing a dingy carpet back to its intended shade.


Clean it - and mean it
The old saying that if you want something done right, do it yourself doesn't necessarily apply to all situations. This is especially true when cleaning your own home, says Sarah Benken, founder of Triangle's Other Woman Inc., a full-service cleaning and personal assisting company based in Raleigh.

"When I clean my own house, it takes me forever," she admits. "I get sidetracked with so many distractions."

If you find yourself skipping from room to room without much progress, then it might be time for a third-party intervention.

"This way it's done - and it's done right," Benken says.

Between running a business, finishing errands and taking care of her family, Benken knows firsthand how difficult it can be to juggle a busy workload.

"We help people who can't find the time, who need a work-life balance," she says.

It sometimes can be a challenge to figure out where to begin. Cloud Conrad of Maid Brigade recommends first making sure to treat your home - and the bedrooms in particular - for asthma and allergy control.

"The bedroom is the No. 1 spot where dust mites congregate," Conrad says.

"By killing and removing dust mites, your family will be better protected against allergy and asthma attacks."

To kill dust mites, she recommends washing bed linens, mattress covers, pillow shams and duvets in water that's 130 degrees or hotter.

Maid Brigade, which serves the Raleigh area, is known for offering certified green cleaning solutions. Conrad notes that spring cleaning often means handling a host of chemicals during a concentrated period of time, often toxic ingredients that are linked to serious health issues. She recommends researching the ingredients in household products or leaving deep cleaning to a certified green cleaner.


Get - and stay - organized

 When there's too much stuff and not enough space in which to store it, Chapel Hill-based Carolina Closets Plus can help. The company specializes in customized storage solutions to make the best use of a home's useable space.

"We offer a unique approach because we manufacture everything right here in our warehouse," says Mike Hoffer, co-founder and president of the company, which serves both the Triangle and Triad markets.

According to Hoffer, one of the best ways to make the best use of existing space is to add a pull-down hanging section that folds up into a room's ceiling. The company also regularly installs Murphy beds, which fold up and out of the way to allow for maximum use of space.

When cleaning for spring, Hoffer recommends finding a place in the home to efficiently organize seasonal winter items.

"These tend to be bulkier items," he says.

Cary-based ORG Solutions also makes clients' lives easier by designing and installing customized organizational storage systems for their homes.

"The best storage systems make use of vertical space so that everything is visible and accessible," says Steve Dash, general manager.

"We work to give everything a home so that everything will stay organized."

For clients who believe that they have too much stuff, Dash advises sorting items into three piles: keep, toss and donate. He says that people generally only wear 20 percent of their wardrobe, amounting to a lot of wasted closet space.

Dash recommends placing all wardrobe hangers with the rod facing backward so that the open end of the hook faces out. After an item is worn, hang it back up with the hanger facing in the normal position to help identify what you no longer wear.

"Every six months, when you change your smoke alarm batteries, donate at least six garments that you haven't worn," he says.

How's that for efficiency?


Darcie Dearth is a freelance writer based in Apex.




Springing forward

Sarah Benken of Triangle’s Other Woman Inc. offers the following advice when getting your home ready for spring:


  • Before pollen appears, open all windows to let in some fresh air; it can help you get motivated.
  • To safely and effectively clean hardwood floors, mix a solution of 90 percent water and 10 percent white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray directly on the floor and wipe away using a flat mop.
  • The best way to dust is to use a lightly damp rag, wiping from ceiling to floor. Start with the tops of ceilings and walls, and work your way down to tables and figurines. Knock dust to the floor, sweeping away settled dust by vacuuming.
  • Invest in a good vacuum. Keep filters clean and empty; don’t let them sit and build up.